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Archive for January, 2014

Meet the Bad Ass Vegan: John Lewis

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Yaaay! We are so pumped for you to learn more about our second Special Guest for the cruise. We have the pleasure of welcoming a member of the vegan body building community.  John “Bad Ass Vegan” Lewis comes to us from Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, but is originally from Missouri, the “show me state.”  As a nationally certified fitness trainer, John Lewis has spent more than 8 years in the health and fitness industry and played Division I College basketball. John is decidedly passionate not only about his own health and fitness, but that of others as well.

In addition to his extensive knowledge in body sculpting and contouring, what makes John one of the top national fitness trainers is his creative ability to understand and live a vegetarian/vegan lifestyle while maintaining a highly commendable physique.  In essence, he is able to cater to a diverse group of individuals, masterfully creating and developing personalized, unique and healthy nutrition plans. Thus, his services are highly sought after.

Was there a pivotal moment when you decided to become a vegan?

I would have to say my most pivotal moment was when my mother was diagnosed with colon cancer.  I remember asking the doctors how do you get cancer or how did she get it? The doctor said too much animal protein contributed to this disease. So once I saw that it …I decided to choose the plant-based/vegan route.

What changes have you noticed in your body since you made the switch?

I have noticed that I have been able to train much harder in the gym and not have the fatigue and lack of energy that I had when I was consuming animal-based products. I can honestly train for hours and hours. The next day I have little to no fatigue or little to no pain and I am able to train just as hard as the day before. I have also noticed a rise in my mental clarity that may have not been there before.  I would have to say I am the king of multitasking and actually getting everything done without losing track. I have also noticed that my digestive system is working much better.

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What made you decide to go into bodybuilding?

My college career in basketball presented a need to stay in excellent shape because I always wanted to perform at my best on the court. Bodybuilding really came about because I just wanted to take it to the next level and challenge my body even more. I feel as if we should always challenge ourselves and never get too comfortable.  It’s okay to enjoy the moment but always look at how you can improve your life.

Do you have any specific goals for your future as a vegan athlete?

Right now I would have to say that my main goal as a vegan athlete is to show the world that you can be vegan and be powerful and strong, and push your body to the limits without any hesitation. There are so many people that are curious about the vegan lifestyle and culture; I want to make sure that they can see that they can accomplish great things with a vegan diet, no matter what your dietary background has been.  At one time in my life, I used to weigh 315 pounds, and, yes, that’s when I was eating poorly.  I want people to know about my past weight because I want them to know that they can take hold of their lives. People should understand that what we decide to eat is a choice.  We choose what to ingest.  Anyone can take control of their life, and anyone can take control of their health.  The choice is up to us to decide to live better or decide to live worse.

What is your favorite vegan desert?

I know this may sound biased but I can honestly say that the badass Power cookie is my favorite dessert/go to item. I am sort of a cookie monster so if I can have a good cookie then I am going to be happy! My Badass Power Cookie is not necessarily a desert, but it does have a lot of vital nutrients that can sustain a bodybuilder or somebody that’s just looking to stay in shape. The main ingredient in the cookie is Spirulina, but it also has the amino acids and proteins that help the body recover and also build muscle density.

Supporting the Chefs of the Future

“Let food be thy medicine and thy medicine be food” – Hippocrates

One of the most amazing things about the food movement in the last two decades is its ability to recognize and celebrate the variety of people making different dietary choices. There are delicious meals to be had within every food genre, even for people with food allergies. This has supported an increasing demand for chefs who are able to cook tasty and creative meals for an increasingly growing demographic. In previous decades, people were mainly trying to avoid sugar and sodium. However, with constantly updated information about what foods can contribute to certain ailments, one may be left searching for new dietary options –the tastier and healthier the better.

Natural Epicurean Academy of Culinary Arts

Lo and behold the Natural Epicurean Academy of Culinary Arts, founded in 1994 by Elizabeth Ann Foster, a certified macrobiotic counselor. Elizabeth started the school to manifest her vision of advancing the appreciation and practice of natural, whole food cooking in the Southeast. This vision was continued under the stewardship of Dawn Pallavi, experienced teacher, counselor and macrobiotic chef. With culinary training in France and the US, Dawn brought a culturally eclectic flair to the art of natural, whole foods cooking.

For the last 3 years, the Holistic Holiday at Sea vegan cruise has had an extern program as part of the on-board educational track.  Last year, the vegan cruise started a partnership with the  University of Miami Miller School of Medicine’s  iCamp—Integrative and Complementary Academic Medicine Programs to offer CME credits for allied Health Professionals.

Internship Program on the Cruise

Below is an inside look at the externship opportunity on the cruise and how it serves as a great experience for these already well-rounded culinary students. This will be Jeanine Perla’s 3rd year on the cruise and she will be working with 2 new interns from the academy. We look forward to meeting the three of them and tasting some of their unique and mouth watering creations!

Jeanine Perla

 

HHaS: How did you initially learn about the cruise?

I was a student at The Natural Epicurean. John Belleme reached out to The Natural Epicurean requesting interns and I responded. I had to go through an interview process and I was so excited to be selected.

HHaS: How did you become on of the chefs in the kitchen on the cruise this year?

I worked extremely hard my first year as an intern, so they asked me to come back for a second year. I did well enough in 2013 that they selected me to come back again :)

Will you be assisting Mark Hanna with his duties or are you running a particular part yourself?

The two interns and I will be responsible for helping the Mark Hanna’s staff stay ahead of the game. We will be working in the evening pulling inventory, chopping vegetables, prepping meals and more. We are honored to be a key team in the orchestration of the kitchen functioning smoothly. 

Can you tell me a bit about the interns?

Kelly Ritter was drawn to The Natural Epicurean as a result of a trip to Africa. She realized how there is a global need for more preferable foods. She completed her studies and she now does chef work in restaurants, yoga retreats, Africa and more. Dustin Lundewall was working in the restaurant industry and realized that he wanted to develop a career in the plant based food industry. His goal is to become a macrobiotic counselor, so he is looking forward to being part of the Holistic Holiday at Sea chef team.

What would you like for our readers to know about you and your career as a chef?

I come from an Italian family, so cooking has always been a central part of every get together. When I was looking for culinary schools, my father was becoming very ill. I selected The Natural Epicurean because I wanted to be a chef that promotes healing from food. My journey has led me to guest chef work, instructing and catering. It is such a delight to feed people food that is, first and foremost, delicious and also nourishing.  

What’s your favorite part about being a chef?

My favorite part about being a chef is watching my client’s reaction to the food. A good meal requires a lot of hard work. The chef has to forage the food, store it properly, cook it perfectly, balance it with sauces and make sure that multiple textures are present. But the moment that the client eats the food and tastes all of the dimensions and love that was put into the food, all of my body aches wash away as I watch the client revel in the satiating meal.

We’d like to thank Jeanine for sharing her path with us. We wish her the best of luck in her career and her other endeavors. We look forward to seeing her on the ship in March.

Welcome to 2014!!! We are so very excited to be in our 11th year of bringing you great lectures, amazing activities, community building and a celebration of living a compassionate vegan lifestyle! 2014 promises to be an incredible year with new presenters, new and cutting edge fitness opportunities, new entertainers and amazing cooking classes with celebrity vegan chefs! Bring a friend or your entire family. The gift of health is the one that keeps on giving. We look forward to seeing you in March!

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